Covid-19 incidence in Mountmellick, south and west Laois jumps above the national average

Virus situation shows more improvement Portlaoise and Port Graigue areas

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


COVID-19 map shows Portlaoise has highest rate in Laois

Darker shaded ares represent a higher incidence of Covid-19

The least densely populated part of Laois which includes, Mountmellick, Mountrath and Rathdowney has a Covid-19 incidence above the national average according to the latest official figures

The latest Local Electoral Area (LEA) breakdown which is updated weekly on the Covid-19 Ireland data hub is based on figures in the 14 days from November 24 to December 7. It includes a week of data after the lockdown was lifted. 

It reveals more improvement in the Portlaoise and a good result for the Portarlington and Graiguecullen area on the east of the county. But the virus is not under control in the Mountmellick Borris-in-Ossory LEA where the incidence has worsened for the third successive recording period. The area could be paying the price for sharing a border with north Kilkenny which has one of the highest infection rates in the country.

The latest figures shows that there were just 13 cases in the Portlaoise area and a decrease in incidence. There were 14 new in the are in the two weeks to November 30. This gave a rate of infection of 44 per 100,000 population. The incidence in the most populated electoral area of Laois fell to 40.9 in the two weeks to December 7.  

The total population of the Portlaoise local electoral area is 31,794 people with more than 20,000 living in the county town environs. It includes Abbeyleix, Ballyroan and Ballinakill which is located close to the border with Kilkenny.

There were 16 new cases in the Portarlington Graiguecullen LEA in the 14 days covered yielding an LEA rate per 100k of 56.9. These figures are an improvement on the previous recording period when there were 19 new cases in the two weeks to November 30 giving an incidence rate of 67.6 per 100 k. 

The population of this area is 28,096. It also includes Stradbally, Timahoe, Ballylinan, Ballyadams, Killeshin, Crettyard, Killenard, Ballybrittas. It borders Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny and Offaly.

The most concerning trend is found in the west and south-west of the county - the Mountmellick to Borris-in-Ossory LEA where the virus spread has worsened. The new figures show that the rate per 100 k of the population is now 88.7 due to 22 more cases.

This is an increase from 72.6 per 100 k on the back of 18 cases previous two weeks. It also to compares with 56.4 per 100k in the 14 days to November 23.  

The LEA had a very low rate of infection and far fewer cases than the other two LEAs in Laois during the early weeks of the second wave but has risen steadily since to a point where it is above the national average of 80.2 per 100 k of population.

The district is less populated, with 24,807. It includes Rathdowney, Mountrath, Durrow, Castletown, Camross, Errill, Clonaslee and Rosenallis. It borders Tipperary and Offaly but also Kilkenny which has the second-worst incidence of the virus in the country.

There were 45 confirmed cases in the Castlecomer LEA rate which had a rate of 190.8 per 100k pop - more than double the national average for the Republic.

The deteriorating situation in the west and south-west of Laois has seen in the average Laois incidence rate rise in the two weeks measured to 56.7 per 100 k on the back of 48 cases. 

This slightly worse than the fortnight to November 30 when 55.5 per 100 was returned. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) reported that the county-wide incidence of the disease in the two weeks to November 23 was 49.6. This put Laois at the second-lowest rate of infection in Ireland.

Up to date figures published by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Thursday, December 10 reveals that the incidence in Laois has fallen back to 49.6 per 100k on the back of 42 cases in the previous two weeks to December 9. 

There have now been 1,014 officially recorded cases in Laois since February.

More on the local area breakdown here